louisiana coast

New Harmony High School

Some innovative educators in New Orleans are rethinking high school. When New Harmony High opens next year, it won’t look – or act -- like a conventional school. That’s because it will most likely be situated on a barge on the Mississippi River. And its curriculum will include some unique lessons about coastal land loss. NolaVie's Renee Peck sits down with Sunny Dawn Summers, New Harmony's Head of School, to hear about this distinctive project.

Travis Lux / WWNO

Last August, several days of heavy rain flooded the Baton Rouge area. From Baton Rouge to Denham Springs to Gonzales -- rising waters flooded out around one hundred thousand homes and caused billions of dollars worth of damage. Recovery is ongoing, even nine months later.

 

The Baton Rouge area isn’t the only part of the state still struggling this many months out. The damage rippled out across the state -- all the way down to the tiny town of Leeville, near Grand Isle, along the coast.

 

mississippiriverdelta.org

Governor John Bel Edwards recently declared coastal land loss a "State of Emergency." Officials hope this will speed up federal approval of big coastal restoration projects -- like planned river diversions south of New Orleans.

 

Though good for the coast, big land-building projects can have unintended consequences -- like changing where certain species live. So if the feds agree, instead of a lengthy environmental review process the state could get leeway and start building earlier.

 

Flickr/Washington State House Republicans's photostream (CC BY-ND 2.0)

On Monday, Congress unveiled a spending bill that would fund the federal government through September. It includes $9 million for coastal restoration projects in Louisiana.

 

In an effort to help the state fight coastal land loss, the Army Corps of Engineers sometimes uses the mud it dredges from from navigation channels and the Mississippi River to rebuild marshes. It’s the Corps’ job to keep the river passable, so in these cases it reuses the material that it digs up.

U.S. Department of the Interior

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week calling for more oil and gas drilling. But the final call is up to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior.

 

On Monday, the secretary endorsed Trump’s plan -- and then some.

St. John the Baptist Parish

St. John the Baptist is the latest parish to file a lawsuit against oil and gas companies. Parish officials say the industry is partially to blame for coastal land loss.

 

It’s the latest move in a long saga as the suits make their way through various courts.

Chuck Perrodin / CPRA

Governor John Bel Edwards has declared Louisiana’s ongoing coastal land loss a state of emergency. It’s part of the state’s strategy to speed up coastal restoration projects.

Environmental permits can slow down big restoration projects. The Army Corps of Engineers, for example, says it could take up to five years to get federal permits to open up the Mississippi River and use diversions to create new land.

So state officials are looking for ways to fast-track these projects.  

Claire Bangser

Bring Your Own is a nomadic storytelling series that takes place in unconventional spaces within the community. Each month, eight storytellers have eight minutes to respond to a theme. BYO airs on All Things New Orleans and is a biweekly podcast on WWNO.org.

NASA

In a new story out in The Lens today, environmental reporter Bob Marshall delves into an ongoing study about Mississippi River sediment, and its ability to rebuild the coast. Government agencies and scientists have some new ideas about how much mud and sand the Mississippi River deposits along the Louisiana coast before it flows out to the Intercontinental Shelf.

Marshall tops his story by laying out some assumptions: